Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed 'deep anguish' over state minister Bhim Singh's remarks in the wake of the killing of five Indian Army jawans in Jammu and Kashmir that soldiers were meant to "lay sown their lives during service".
"I am deeply anguished by the minister's remarks... I rebuked him as soon as I came to know about it and asked him to tender a public apology, which he has already done," Nitish told reporters upon arrival at Jai Prakash Narayan airport here from New Delhi, where he had gone on a two-day visit.
Singh, the Bihar Rural Works and Panchayati Raj Minister, sparked a row today when he said that "soldiers and policemen are recruited to lay down their lives during service".
Four jawans hailing from Bihar were amongst the five soldiers killed allegedly by Pakistani troops in the Poonch distict of J&K.
Singh later retracted his statement and tendered an unconditional apology for the same.
"People join army or police for 'shahadat' (martyrdom)," Singh had told reporters today.
He had been reacting to questions over the absence last night of JD(U) ministers at the city airport when the bodies of the soldiers from the state were flown in from by a special Air Force plane.
He had later turned his ire on the media on the issue, saying, "You had gone to the airport as part of your duty, for which you are paid."
"Did your father go to the airport to receive the bodies?... You had gone there as part of your duty, for which you are paid," Singh even told a newsman from a private TV channel.
As soon as his comments were aired on TV, angry Opposition members demanded his immediate sacking.
The minister later told PTI that Kumar had rung him up to express his "displeasure" over the comments.
"I am sorry, not once but one hundred times for the comments," he said, adding, however, that his remarks had been "twisted".